I’ve been chastised because I haven’t said anything about the Bill. Mostly I haven’t commented because it doesn’t seem very likely anything will come of it. The Republican Base is against it, Democrats are leaning protectionist/populist and its soon to be election season so nobody wants to piss off their voters.
My general sentiments are more close to this NY Times editorial. Immigration is a particularly American tradition that I’m proud of in the abstract. But more importantly, I’m particularly proud of my own family’s heritage as “new comers” to this country (Ambrosini’s have been here in Northern California from Switzerland for about 125 years).
Low skill immigrants compete with natives with low education, but not that much. Even to the extent Mexican immigrants (and this debate is about Mexican immigrants) compete with Americans, I’m not sure why we should be protecting low paying jobs. No one is entitled to a job and if we’re going to have creative destruction, why not have it on the low end of the skill distribution?
In my perfect world, the borders would be completely open. The Econ 101 theory tells us that immigration controls, like all restrictions on trade, are bad for society. The data basically say there is little cost to immigration, even if you think evaluating natives separate from the immigrants is an ethically ok thing to do (i.e. what’s the relevant moral community?). Mostly though the best argument for the free flow of people, especially from poor countries, is there’s a positive cultural externality to adding these people in our country. Immigrants are just cool people. They have gumption, they picked themselves up from where they were and moved far away from home. They’re hard working and they have good family values. (… I’m going to get shit for that one…)
Given there’s enough paleo-conservatives out there (e.g. 2/3rds of my family) that oppose immigration, while no doubt being sons and daughters of immigrants, open borders will never happen. So, my compromise would be guest worker program that moves people towards regular citizenship. My fear with this Bill is that we’d create second class citizens, breaking the tradition of the American melting pot.
That said, I believe in the rule of law. We have these silly laws and they should be followed until the law is changed.